Just in time as temps in the desert move to triple digits. Lake Fulmor offers a cool alternative.

Many desert denizens enjoy the art and live music in mile-high Idyllwild on Mt. San Jacinto, on the other side of the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. Savoring international cuisine on patios among pine-scented air can be intoxicating, after partaking of world-class hiking and rock climbing. However, most visitors are unaware of a modest little gem a few miles beyond the village — beautiful Lake Fulmor.

Seasonal colors and winter’s stunning shrouds of snow and ice, all mirrored on the water, draw photographers, as well as couples hand-in-hand, families spotting wildlife, anglers and motorists needing a break from the road.


Lake Fulmor was created by a dam installed on Indian Creek in 1947.

Lake Fulmor is a day use area off Highway 243 in San Bernardino National Forest,15 miles from Banning and 10 miles north of Idyllwild. Travelers can unwind, spread out a picnic on one of the tables or walk an unpaved one-half mile loop trail, keeping an eye out for Steller’s jays, dragonflies, tree frogs and mule deer. An accessible pier near the highway allows for quick selfies before getting back behind the wheel, after a trip to one of the restrooms. Or, for those with time to contemplate, there are lots of boulders to relax on.

In busy summer, it’s better to go in the morning or late afternoon to get a table or quiet walk. Pack water, food, sunscreen and other supplies because there are no nearby stores, and take a jacket in case of weather changes. Average daytime temperatures are in the 60s and 70s in April/May, then rise to 80s in the summer.

Lake Fulmor was created by a dam installed on Indian Creek in 1947. Rainbow trout are stocked there by California Department of Fish & Wildlife. However, this year, stock is greatly reduced due to a bacteriological infection that has been causing shortages at hatcheries. No update on the current exact stocking of the lake was available. For more information, click here. Anglers need a state fishing license. Swimming isn’t recommended because the water can carry microorganisms, such as giardiasis.

Parking is available with an Adventure Pass ($5), which can be purchased at stores in Banning or Idyllwild. To see a list of vendors, click here. The lake is open 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. No overnight parking or camping is allowed.

For more information, visit the Forest Service website or contact the Idyllwild Ranger Station, 909-382-2921.